The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has sent abortion pills and emergency contraception to Ukraine in response to reports of rape during Russia’s invasion.
“Access to timely sexual and reproductive healthcare, including safe abortion care is critical for women and girls both inside Ukraine and fleeing the country as well as for anyone who has experienced sexual violence, including rape,” Caroline Hickson, the regional director of the IPPF European Network told Fox News Digital.
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“IPPF is working with our member association, Women’s Health and Family Planning Ukraine, to distribute essential medicines, including emergency contraception, contraception, medical abortion pills, antibiotics for sexually transmitted infections and post-exposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV,” she added. “We are also training healthcare providers on the clinical management of rape as well as implementing additional psychosocial support for survivors of sexual violence, such as trauma counseling.”
The IPPF has delivered only an initial package to Ukraine, where the war destroyed any local supply chains and completely displaced any healthcare providers. The organization has ongoing dialogues “where possible and legal” with countries that have taken in significant numbers of Ukrainian refugees: Romania will receive funding to source the necessary contraceptives, but Poland and Hungary present significant roadblocks.
“Our partner organizations work to support women who need to access emergency contraception through connecting them with doctors in country who will provide the requisite care or helping them travel to where this is not possible,” a spokesperson for the IPPF explained, noting that both Hungary and Poland require a prescription for emergency contraception.
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The fighting in Ukraine has shifted eastward after Russia failed to take Kyiv following a month-long siege. Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns and cities such as Bucha, where more than 100 civilians were found buried in mass graves.
Human Rights Watch has documented evidence of summary executions, unlawful violence and threats against civilians and repeated rape in the first few weeks of the invasion. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of carrying out “a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities” in Ukraine.
Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova said at least nine pregnancies had resulted from rape during the occupation of Bucha. She claimed that about 25 girls and women aged 14-25 were systematically raped in the basement of a building in the city.
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To meet the demand amid these reports, the IPPF delivered 2,880 packets of emergency contraception – also known as the morning-after pill – to Ukraine, along with post-rape kits that include pregnancy tests and abortion pills that can be used up to 24 weeks after pregnancy. The logistics of distributing the materials within Ukraine have proven difficult, but the government has relaxed regulations on medical supplies entering the country.
“Timing is crucial for when they are distributed,” the spokesperson said. “There is a window of five days in which emergency contraception effectively prevents pregnancy.”
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“To be pregnant at that moment in time may be devastating for some women, and they also need access to emergency contraception and to abortion care… It’s absolutely vital for survivors of violence and it’s also incredibly important across the board.”
The spokesperson stressed that while reports of rape have increased since the beginning of the invasion, they only indicate the number of survivors who have presented for services and given their consent for their data to be collected.
“The numbers that are seen never really tell the whole story and scale of sexual and gender-based violence,” she said.
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.